Aloisius of Gonzaga

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Aloysius Gonzaga by Goya
Aloisius as a youth

Aloisius von Gonzaga , also Aloysius von Gonzaga , born as Luigi Gonzaga (born March 9, 1568 in Castiglione delle Stiviere , † June 21, 1591 in Rome ) was an Italian Jesuit and one of the saints who died at a young age .


Aloisius (Luigi) Gonzaga was born as the eldest son of Ferdinand Gonzaga , Margrave of Castiglione, and Marta Tana di Santena , who was therefore entitled to inherit . His great-grandfather was Rodolfo Gonzaga († 1495), lord of Castiglione and Solferino, a later son of Luigi III. Gonzaga and his wife Barbara von Brandenburg .

As a child he was already noticed by his intense piety influenced by his mother. At the age of ten he was employed as a page at the Medici court in Brescia . He then worked at the court of King Philip II of Spain in Madrid.

The related Cardinal of Milan, Charles Borromeo , seems to have made a strong impression on the young man. Finally, it was Karl Borromeo who prepared the twelve-year-old Aloisius (Luigi) for First Holy Communion and gave it to him. In 1585 Luigi renounced his father's inheritance, the Margraviate of Castiglione, in favor of his brother Rudolf .

After his father's consent, for which he had to wait patiently and laboriously, he entered the newly founded order of the Jesuits in Rome . There he conducted theological studies. Caring for the sick was important to him. He worked to ensure that the poor also have a dignified burial.

His intense concern for the sick unintentionally led to his early death. When a plague epidemic raged in Rome , Aloisius became infected and died at the age of 23.

He was buried in the Church of the Resurrection in Rome. Soon after his death he was considered a saint and his remains were transferred to the church of Sant'Ignazio di Loyola in Campo Marzio , Rome, where they now rest in a lapis lazuli urn in the Lanzelotti Chapel. His head was later transferred to the Aloisius Basilica in Castiglione delle Stiviere .


Altar with the relics of St. Aloisius in Sant'Ignazio in Rome

Aloisius was beatified by Pope Paul V on October 19, 1605, just 14 years after his death . On December 31, 1726 he was together with another Jesuit novice, Stanislaus Kostka , by Pope Benedict XIII. canonized. The same Pope declared him the patron saint of young students in 1729. In 1926 he was from Pius XI. declared the patron saint of Christian youth. Because of the nature of his death, he has always been considered the patron saint of plague victims , more recently also those suffering from AIDS and their carers. He is also called upon for eye ailments and sexual temptations. St. Aloisius is the patron saint of the city of Mantua . His feast day is June 21 .


Aloysius von Gonzaga adores Maria (1750), Sarleinsbach (Upper Austria)

Numerous churches (→ Aloysius Church ) were consecrated to him and schools such as the Aloisius College and the Gonzaga University were named after him. Furthermore, he is the patron saint of the Aloisius Youth from 1813 eV. from Ahrweiler .

In art he is depicted as a young man in a cassock and collar or as a page. His attributes are a lily as a symbol of virginity , a crucifix and a rosary that indicates his devotion to the Virgin Mary . In the St. Josephskirche in Gelsenkirchen-Schalke he is shown as a footballer in the Schalke colors.

At the turn of the 20th century, due to the popular piety of that time, other virtues came to the fore in addition to the zeal for penance. The virtue of chastity was particularly emphasized, because Aloisius took a vow of virginity in the Florentine Church of SS. Annunziata at the age of ten; he never succumbed to the sin of masturbation . The statement that he never looked women in the face for the sake of purity can, however, be understood too one-sidedly, because at that time it was quite common in court ceremonies not to look women in the face.


Web links

Commons : Aloisius von Gonzaga  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Genealogical page on the family
  2. ^ Image of the altar with the head relic of St. Aloisius (in the middle above the tabernacle)
  3. Close-ups of the head relic
  4. The football saint watches over the St. Joseph Church in Schalke. In: WAZ. Retrieved June 22, 2015 .